laz". Also from the common Germanic are Middle Dutch "ael", Old High German "âl", Old Norse "áll". Katz (1998) [J. Katz, 'How to be a Dragon in Indo-European: Hittite illuyankas and its Linguistic and Cultural Congeners in Latin, Greek, and Germanic', in: "Mír Curad. Studies in Honor of Calvert Watkins", ed. Jasanoff, Melchert, Oliver, Innsbruck 1998, 317–334.] identifies a number of Indo-European cognates, among them the second part of the Latin name of the eels, "anguilla", which is attested in its simplex form "illa" in a glossary only, and likewise the Greek word for "eel", "egkhelys", the second part being attested in Hesychius as "elyes". The first compound member, "anguis" "snake", is cognate to other Indo-European words for "snake", cf. Old Irish "escung" "eel", Old High German "unc" "snake", Lithuanian "angìs", Greek "ophis, okhis", Vedic Sanskrit "áhi", Avestan "aži", Armenian "auj, iž", Old Church Slavonic "*IPA|ǫžь", all from Proto-Indo-European "*oguhis, ēguhis". The word also appears in Old English "igil" "hedgehog" (named as the "snake eater"), and perhaps in the "egi-" of Old High German "egidehsa" "wall lizard".The name of Bellerophon (Βελλερόντης, attested in a variant Ἐλλεροφόντης in Eustathius of Thessalonica) according to this theory is also related, translating to "the slayer of the serpent" ("ahihán"), the ελλερο- being an adjective for a lost ελλυ- "snake", directly comparable to Hittite "ellu-essar-" "snake pit". This myth likely came to Greece via Anatolia, and in the Hittite version, the dragon is called "Illuyanka", the "illuy-" part being cognate to the "illa" word, and the "-anka" part being cognate to the "angu" word for "snake". From these forms, no unambiguous Proto-Indo-European form for the "eel" word can be reconstructed, it could have been "*ēl(l)-u-", "*ēl(l)-o-" or similar.

Young eels are known as elver(s).

Further information

An urban legend states that wallets made out of electric eels (which, despite their name, are not eels) can demagnetize credit cards. This was proven to be untrue in an episode of the "MythBusters" TV show. As pointed out in the Straight Dope, eel-skin wallets are made from hagfish which are unrelated to electric eels. [] Furthermore, it seems that magnetic clasps, not eel leather, are to blame for demagnetization.

Eel blood is toxic, but the toxic protein it contains is destroyed by cooking. The toxin derived from eel blood serum was used by Charles Robert Richet in his Nobel winning research which discovered anaphylaxis (by injecting it into dogs and observing the effect).

On January 31, 1930, the Danish research ship "The Dana" captured what researchers believed to be a six-feet long eel larva near South Africa's Cape of Good Hope. This would have meant there were very long eels in the sea, since the typical eel larva is three inches (76 mm) long, while the adults can grow from about convert|4|ft|m to convert|16|ft|m long. In 1970, Dr. David G. Smith of the University of Miami identified the larva found as that of the spiny eel, an eel-like fish whose larval length is equal to its adult length, while the larval length of the true eel is much shorter than its adult length. [ [ "Giant Eel Larva?"] (retrieved 15 July 2008)]

One of the famous attractions of the Pacific island of Huahine (part of the Society Islands in French Polynesia), is the bridge that crosses over a stream with 3- to convert|6|ft|m|sing=on long eels. These eels are deemed sacred by the locals, by local mythology.

See also

* Japanese eel
* Eel life history


External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Eel — Eel, n. [AS. ?l; akin to D., G., & Dan. aal, Icel. [=a]ll, Sw. [*a]l.] (Zo[ o]l.) An elongated fish of many genera and species. The common eels of Europe and America belong to the genus {Anguilla}. The electrical eel is a species of {Gymnotus}.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • eel — eel; eel·ery; eel·like; …   English syllables

  • eel — [ēl] n. pl. eels or eel [ME ele < OE æl, akin to Ger aal] 1. any of an order (Anguilliformes) of bony fishes with long, slippery, snakelike bodies and no pelvic fins 2. any of various other snakelike fishes, including the electric eel and… …   English World dictionary

  • eel — ► NOUN ▪ a snake like fish with a slender elongated body and poorly developed fins. DERIVATIVES eel like adjective eely adjective. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary

  • eel|y — «EE lee», adjective. of or like an eel; wriggling …   Useful english dictionary

  • Eel — (spr. Ihl), Städtischer Bezirk (Township) in der Grafschaft Caß des Staates Indiana (Nordamerika); 2400 Ew …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • eel — [i:l] n [: Old English; Origin: Al] a long thin fish that looks like a snake and can be eaten …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • eel — [ il ] noun count a long thin fish that looks like a snake and can be eaten …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • eel — O.E. æl, from P.Gmc. *ælaz (Cf. O.Fris. el, M.Du. ael, Du. aal, O.S., O.H.G. al, Ger. Aal, O.N. all), of unknown origin, with no certain cognates outside Germanic. Used figuratively for slipperiness from at least 1520s …   Etymology dictionary

  • eel|er — «EE luhr», noun. a person who catches eels …   Useful english dictionary

  • eel — eellike, adj. eely, adj. /eel/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) eel, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) eels. 1. any of numerous elongated, snakelike marine or freshwater fishes of the order Apodes, having no ventral fins. 2. any of… …   Universalium

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